Charlie Upham

CEO, Chef, Top Shelf Creamery
“My mom was the one on the street who baked, she also wasn’t afraid the buy the jumbo box of Ding-Dongs. My house was always a go-to spot, and for most of my friends (especially those whose parents tried to limit their sugar intake to fruit and honey) my house was heaven. In these heady days, ice cream held a special place. Be it in the form of malts or sundaes, my mom, brother, and I sought them out going to every new shop that opened in town. As you might imagine, in the 1970s what I called “fruit” was a syrup, filled a pie, or took the form of everyone’s favorite-the Raspberry Pop Tart. This lexicon would change when I was 17 and took my first solo excursion deeper into Mexico. There I would discover the papaya, mango, passion fruit, and the amazing mamey, a.k.a the marmalade fruit. Soon I would travel to Hawaii and discover the lychee and cement my love of pineapple. Fruit was now firmly on my radar, but was redefined yet again when I went to Europe and not only discovered the master recipes of most commercialized American confections (who knew the Pop Tart was a Linzer Danish?) but would run smack into glacier fruit! As the years went by and my culinary education deepened, fruit and freshness would become mantras. From my days brewing beer, to my current love for making ice cream, fruit in all its forms is a cherished friend that helps create endless flavor profiles.”
“As a young child, my grandmother had a garden in our backyard and while she was cooking, she would ask me to go pick jalapenos, tomatoes, and squash. That garden made a big impression on me and my life. I believe that is where my passion for food and fellowship developed. On Sundays our family would gather at my grandparents’ home to eat and laugh. I believe that no matter what happens in life there is no better feeling than gathering around the dinner table with your family and friends.”